Monday, August 08, 2005

BBC-think on its head

The BBC’s Jonathon Beale, in a piece today on the “strained relations” between the US and the UN, introduces us to the issue with the following:

It is strange to think that a country perceived as "hostile" to the United Nations was in fact one of the founding fathers of the international organisation.

The name "United Nations" was first coined by President Franklin D Roosevelt during the Second World War when 26 nations pledged to continue fighting together against the Axis powers.

In 1945 representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco to draw up the UN Charter.

The fact that its headquarters would be in New York showed the US commitment to the project and its desire to be a leading members (sic).

American affection for the organisation though has slowly been ebbing away - the relationship all but collapsing in the run up to the Iraq war.

This is indicative of the mindset that pervades not only the BBC, but the “mainstream” media in general. In looking at the rise in tension between the US and the UN, it seems to assume that the tension is strictly a function of US attitudes towards the UN, and not vice-versa. To see what I mean, try to imagine the following ever being published by the BBC.

It is strange to think that an organization perceived as “hostile” to the United States in fact owes its very existence to the benevolence and planning of that very same country.

In 1944, US President Harry F. Truman invited representatives of China, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom to the US to establish proposals which would ultimately form the basis for the UN Charter, which was drawn up and signed by representatives of 50 nations in San Francisco nearly a year later.

The fact that UN headquarters would be established in New York showed UN recognition of the importance to the organization of US sponsorship.

Since then the US has been far and away the largest financial contributor to the UN’s coffers, with, for example, nearly 22% the latest UN budget being covered by US contributions alone.

The UN even owes its name to an American, with President Franklin Roosevelt coining the term during World War II.

Yet UN hostility towards the US has been slowing increasing – the relationship all but collapsing in the run up to the Iraq War.

It is difficult to imagine such words ever being written or uttered on the BBC. Yet, is framing the issue in this way any less objective – or less accurate – than the way it was framed by Beale?


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